In Focus: Future Reserves 2020 A Consultation PaperThis article is featured in the latest In Focus.
FR20: The MOD has announced its response to the Future Reserves 2020 review (FR20) and the details of the next steps in creating the new Armed Forces structure.
The MOD is already working and will continue to work closely with employers to ensure the new structure will continue to benefit employers, Reservists and Defence.
The biggest change affecting employers is that the Reserve element will form a larger proportion of the whole force, will be an integral part of it and will increase in trained strength. This will require Reservists to be available on a more guaranteed basis.
In light of this the MOD states that the needs of employers must be respected and addressed. Therefore Defence is moving to build relationships with employers based on partnering and giving greater predictability and certainty as to when Reservists will be required for training or deployment.
Furthermore, it is recognised that military service gives employers better qualified staff with additional skills. To support this, the MOD seeks to build partnering initiatives to identify and better maximise opportunities to develop specialised skills such as medical or cyber and for training which mutually benefit the employer, Defence and the individual.
Increase to Reserve Forces Trained Strength
Although Reservists will form a higher proportion of our Armed Forces and trained strength is set to increase, it is not intended they will be used more often. Their training will be more closely aligned to that of the Regulars and will become more predictable.
The change in the balance of Regular and Reserve forces is driven by the fiscal, security and societal needs and will ensure Defence has the most appropriate manpower to meet future threats. The new ratio of Reserve to Regular Forces will mean the UK is more in line with its allies Canada, Australia and the United States.
By employing and supporting Reservists, employers are contributing to the enduring stability, security and defence of the UK. The MOD is aware of the fact that a greater reliance on Reserves will demand a closer relationship with employers. The MOD will continue to engage with employers in several ways from Board level down to Line Manager level during the implementation of FR20.
Partnering with Employers
The relationship with employers will be based on a greater use of partnering arrangements to identify and maximise opportunities where there is mutual benefit to the business, Defence and the individual Reservist. Critically, it must be ensured that use of Reserves is as predictable as possible to help Reservists, their families and employers to plan.
Meetings with many employers are taking place to examine how to accommodate the needs of all parties and one of the outcomes is a "Partnering for Talent" approach. Projects include joint training initiatives to develop leadership skills. In addition, more specialist skills, such a medical and cyber, are being addressed through collaborative programmes between the MOD and selected employers. Pilot schemes will be in place from September 2012 and, if successful, the approach will be extended.
In 2011, the MOD commissioned SaBRE to conduct extensive research amongst employers via independent focus groups, online surveys and regional engagement meetings. The results have reaffirmed employers’ support to Reservists and to Defence’s intent to increase the Reservist strength as part of a Whole Force. Independent research was conducted with employers and employers’ organisations such as the Institute of Directors (IOD), Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and this will continue.
The MOD realises that the proposed changes need the support of society as a whole and employers in particular. They will therefore publish a consultation paper in the autumn setting out detailed proposals to enable informed decisions to be made in the spring.
Thousands of Reservists work in both large and small Private Sector companies across the UK. This provides a wide and critical range of skills for Defence as well as ensuring Reservists are recruited from all areas of the society the Armed Forces defend.
Many Reservists work in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME) and these will continue to be an important source of Reserve manpower for the Armed Forces. The MOD recognises the very significant impact that a Reservist being mobilised can have on an SME and they will continue to work at national, regional and local levels to inform Reservists and employers about periods of training and mobilisation in order to minimise the impact.
In addition, the MOD is working with other government departments to ensure that the Public Sector - already a major employer of Reservists - leads the way as setting a good example.
SaBRE will continue to keep employers informed of the changes taking place as a result of FR20. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive news updates or if you would be interested in consulting with the MOD on future research projects as an employer, please contact us.
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